Neckface - 'Simply The Worst'

Robin Fleming

Neckface creeps out his patrons at his "Simply the Worst" art show in Los Angeles.

For the past decade Neckface's scrawled tags and cryptic messages have been painted on billboards, mailboxes and walls in cities around the world -- so it comes as no surprise that skateboarders have gravitated to his work. Skaters live and work in the streets and were among the first to notice and relate to Neckface. Further, often on the run from the police, Neckface's chosen getaway car has always been his skateboard.

This past Friday the 13th was the auspicious date for the opening of Neckface's "Simply The Worst" print release and show at New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles, Calif. The crowd looked more like attendees of the Transworld Skateboarding Awards than an art show, with skaters Kevin "Spanky" Long, Jerry Hsu, Dustin Dollin, Chad Muska and many more in attendance.

The world of skateboarding loves Neckface. Professional skater Andrew Reynolds explains, "He's a ripping skater and his art is raw." Fellow skateboarder Kevin Long concurs, "He's an artist who likes skateboarding more than he likes art."

Neckface's style has been described as medieval and scratchy -- like writing etched into a bathroom stall. His themes sometimes combine both childish antics and Satanic imagery -- which makes perfect sense as he was practically raised in a Haunted house.

"I was born into it, my older brother has been doing a haunted house for almost 27 years. I don't remember the first time, because it's always been there, but I remember I would get the real stupid masks from the bottom of the pile and I would take my shirt off and act like a psycho-retard that was let out of the mental hospital. My goal: scare the $#%! out of the really young kids," explains Neckface.

Skaters relate to Neckface, as their livelihood is also regarded as illegal, but the real draw is Neckface himself. According to Reynolds, "Neckface is like a Mexican Tracy Morgan mixed with some Bart Simpson." Notorious for his irreverent and incredibly dry sense of humor, the characters in Neckface's work are pretty close to the artist himself, "They are who they are, but a lot of the one liners come from my actual life."

As owner of Baker Skateboards, Reynolds was so impressed with Neckface's talents that he made him creative director for Baker Skateboards and asked him to do the logo for his band The Goat, "He gets Baker and The Goat, so he just does it and we say, 'Cool, that's it.'" Much of the skate industry has agreed with Reynolds assessment, as Neckface has collaborated with Vans, Nike, Emerica, RVCA, Altamont, Shake Junt and others.

Neckface's show, "Simply The Worst," at New Image Gallery in Los Angeles, runs till July 21.

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